Michael Balderstone from the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party based in Nimbin has decided to run in the Eden-Monaro by-election on Saturday, 4 July, 2020.
Mr Balderstone is the HEMP Party president and candidate and he will turn 72 during the by-election campaign. He has passionately continued his protest for justice since the HEMP Party began in 1992.
‘Why can’t we all grow a couple of plants like in Canberra which is surrounded by this electorate? If we were allowed home-grown for personal use across Australia, we could save billions in health care and policing costs. We could be saving money instead of wasting it,’ he said launching his campaign.
Cannabis busts a waste of taxpayers money
Mr Balderstone says that if he wins he will move to Eden-Monaro and be closer to Canberra for work on Cannabis law reform. He is also planning to take advantage of the benefits of being able to enjoy a smoke of marijuana without the threat of arrest in the Australian Capitol city because ‘you’re allowed to smoke there now’.
‘There’s plenty of work to do on law reform, the federal government needs to step in on sniffer dogs and saliva testing which are driving people to use dangerous drugs.’
Referring to the$22m cannabis bust that took place 52km south-east of Lismore on Wednesday Mr Balderstone points our that a better use of resources would be to utilise the knowledge and expertise of the growers in developing local industry and jobs.
Time for a hemp economy
‘Those plants looked great. Why do we keep putting our locals in jail while licensing international corporations to grow pot here instead? We have 50 years of knowledge and talent both locally and around Australia – there are 100,00 jobs waiting to happen in a legal, regulated and taxed cannabis world,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘It’s absolutely clear our federal politicians have no idea about a genuine medical cannabis regime.
‘Current laws fail to address the criminality of millions of ordinary Aussies who enjoy a toke. It’s time to end the war and instead tax and regulate to create investment opportunities plus thousands of Cannabis industry jobs, just like we see in the USA and Canada.’
How much police strikeforces, like Strike Force Harthouse, cost taxpayers is one the police won’t answer.
‘Unfortunately, we do not provide cost breakdowns attached to investigations,’ stated a NSW police spokesperson yesterday when asked about the cost by Echonetdaily.
‘Pot is nothing like other illegal drugs like Ice,’ says Mr Balderstone.
He also points out that police resources should be aimed at the production and distribution of these dangerous drugs that are not being made legal around the world like cannabis. ‘Weed is nothing like those drugs,’ he said
Create jobs, pay taxes – legalise
Mr Balderstone says we should be giving growers the opportunity to live a legal life rather than costing the taxpayers enormous sums of money in both the resources currently expended to find and then jail growers.
‘It will cost half a million dollars a year to keep each of these people arrested on Wednesday locked up. I would provide small, affordable licences for people to produce 50kg so they can use their knowledge and talent and create jobs. But instead we are licensing international companies to come in and grow it here.’
Instead of harnessing our local expert knowledge Mr Balderstone says Australia has turned ‘all the cannabis experts into criminals. They never include us in their decisions and discussions.
‘Most people don’t grow their own. Instead of importing all our cannabis with licences costing around $1m dollars we should get locals to use their expertise. By giving them a legal life.’